Heroic deeds re-en­acted

Central and North Burnett Times - - MOUNT PERRY SHOW - Shirley Way shirley.way@cnbtimes.com.au

HEART-WARM­ING hero­ism from Gal­lipoli will come to life as Mt Perry show-go­ers meet Simp­son and his don­key.

For the past five years, Too­goom RSL mem­ber and Viet­nam vet­eran Ken Hig­gins has dressed in a First World War uni­form to visit schools and shows with his don­key Buddy.

“Simp­son and his don­key story is so com­pas­sion­ate,” Mr Hig­gins said.

John Simp­son Kirk­patrick went to Gal­lipoli as a stretcher bearer, but the very nar­row tracks made trans­port­ing the wounded from the front to aid sta­tions dif­fi­cult.

“Back in Eng­land, when he was a young fella, he used to take peo­ple for (don­key) rides along the beach,” he said.

“As they had don­keys at the Gal­lipoli battle-front for cart­ing wa­ter, Simp­son came up with the idea that they could bring the wounded back.

“He did that con­tin­u­ally from the land­ing on April 24, 1915, un­til he was killed 23 days later.”

Mr Hig­gins de­scribed Simp­son as a “real char­ac­ter”.

A mem­ber of the Bri­tish Mer­chant Navy, Simp­son had ear­lier jumped ship in New­cas­tle, Australia.

When he joined the Aus­tralian army, he changed his name to John Simp­son to avoid ar­rest as a de­serter.

“He cre­ated such at­ten­tion – he used to sing and whis­tle,” Mr Hig­gins said.

“He would sleep with the In­dian sol­diers as that’s where the food was for the don­keys.”

Mr Hig­gins be­gan re-en­act­ing the story of Simp­son and his don­key through his in­volve­ment with the 9th Bat­tal­ion re-en­act­ment group at Her­vey Bay.

PHOTO: CON­TRIB­UTED

GAL­LIPOLI HERO: Ken Hig­gins re-en­acts the hero­ism of stretcher bearer John Simp­son.

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